Michael Weinstein Inspires Congressional Action, Part 2

Update: Weinstein responded:

Weinstein is the kind of guy who revels in the dislike of his adversaries.

“How terrified are these little pu***es in Congress that they have to pass an amendment about me?” he shouted in a phone interview from the foundation’s headquarters in Albuquerque, N.M., using a putdown associated with a woman’s genitalia.

Always classy.

In the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, US Rep John Fleming successfully changed the 2013 NDAA wording after the US Air Force appeared to be acting as a part of Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s self-described “war” on Christians.

Weinstein also inspired US Rep Tim Huelskamp (R-Ks) to add an amendment of his own which would require the Department of Defense to report to Congress every time it met with an outside group for the purpose of

writing, revising, issuing, implementing, enforcing, or seeking advice, input, or counsel regarding military policy related to religious liberty.

This was clearly in response to Weinstein’s 23 April meeting with the JAG of the US Air Force, among others, which Weinstein bragged about to his like-minded media arm, Sally Quinn.  Rep Huelskamp even called it a “rebuke” of “anti-Christian zealot Michael Weinstein.”

The MRFF has sarcastically embraced this amendment, because it would “force” the DoD to report on its meetings with groups like Chaplain endorsers: 

As Mikey Weinstein has no reason or desire to hide any meetings he might have with military officials, MRFF has no reservations whatsoever…

US Marine Sgt Paul Loebe, who appears to have taken over for the awkwardly silenced US Army Sgt Justin Griffith, spoke for American Atheists in supporting the amendment for the same nonsensical reasons.

Their snickering falters, however, for two reasons:  First, “DoD Meets with Chaplains” is neither newsworthy nor controversial; in fact, it is expected (and potentially required). The DoD will certainly have no hesitation explaining that to Congress.  Meeting with Weinstein, however, certainly is controversial, if the past few weeks have shown nothing else.  The DoD may hesitate to grant Weinstein such a meeting if they know they have to report it and experience a public backlash.  Chris Rodda ignorantly claims the wording is aimed at Weinstein, but Congress is clearly writing a law aimed at the DoD.  Everybody knows Weinstein’s ego demands that he loudly proclaim how important he thinks he is; the DoD, on the other hand, would probably like to have a do-over on that April 23rd meeting.

Second, the MRFF’s self-congratulations that it will impact other groups is misplaced.  It was the very lack of meetings with actual groups with vested interest in military religious freedom — while the Air Force did meet with Weinstein — that caused some of this controversy.  As you’ll recall, even a group representing chaplain endorsers questioned why the DoD met with Weinstein — but not them, at least not until after the meeting with Weinstein.

As an aside, a few have commented on the list of 25 attributions to Weinstein that Congressman Huelskamp provided in his press release.  Several of the quotes link to ChristianFighterPilot.com, as well as Weinstein’s own site.  The list, of course, was originally created in a slightly longer form by former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who is currently suing Weinstein.  Klingenschmitt’s list of “Who is Mikey Weinstein?” has been around since at least 2010.

While Weinstein’s speech and calls for action against religious liberty in the United States — and Christians in particular — have long been repugnant, it seems more are gradually recognizing it.  The only question is whether he is attracting more extremist allies than he is alienating former supporters who thought he actually meant “religious freedom” in the name of his “charity.”